COVID 19 and manual therapy: international lessons and perspectives on current and future clinical practice and education

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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has altered clinical practice and education in manual therapy globally. Social distancing has limited in-person care and changed health-care provision. Education in manual therapy has moved to online platforms with in-person instruction restricted. The global impact on the clinical practice of manual therapy and education has to date not been explored. Methods: a questionnaire survey methodology was used. A sample of convenience of global leaders in manual therapy practice and education received an electronic link to two surveys: one on clinical practice and one on education. Contributors could complete one or both surveys. Results: Twenty-five surveys were received on clinical practice and 23 on education in manual therapy, representing the six major continents. Global themes in clinical practice demonstrated a sudden and dramatic shift away from patient contact, with limited modifications to manual therapy in patient care currently adopted. Themes in education were of a major shift to online learning, development of new modes of student instruction including video-based assessment and virtual case-based instruction. Conclusion: The international perspectives provided demonstrate a major change in manual therapy practice and education globally. Various approaches have been taken in practice and education without a uniform approach being demonstrated.

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